The San Antonio Spurs played two teams looking for revenge, and the games didn’t go the way we Spurs fans would have wanted. In between, the team played another decent game for a win against an Eastern Conference possible playoff team that is playing well, even without their superstars.
Week 9: After beating the Houston Rockets in a dramatic way, everyone knew that the Rockets would be looking for revenge. The Spurs came back from Mexico having beaten the Suns in their 4th consecutive overtime and played a strong 1st half, only to come apart at the seams in the second half. On Thursday during Star Wars night against the Brooklyn Nets, the Spurs looked like they were going to give away another game, but they called on the force to lift the X-Wing, I mean team, to a victory on the back of a strong second half. While some of us thought that the Good Guys could muster enough consistency and athleticism to fight it out with Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers, the other LA team came to give a beat down.
On a positive note, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announce this years class of nominees and several former Spurs made the list, including (not a surprise) Becky Hammon and Tim Duncan.
Last week: 1-2 (11-17) - 109 -107 @ Rockets (loss); 118-105 vs. Nets; 134-109 vs. Clippers (loss)
Tim MacMahon, ESPN - 18 (Last Week: 23)
Point guard Dejounte Murray has returned to the starting lineup with mixed results. He has been productive in four games since getting his starting job back, averaging 14.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists while shooting 61% from the field. But he has the Spurs’ worst plus-minus during that 2-2 stretch, as San Antonio was outscored by 45 points in Murray’s 110 minutes.
Michael Shapiro, SI.com - ?? (Last Week: 21)
N/A - Will update when published.
Colin Ward-Henninger, CBS Sports - 16 (Last Week: 17)
The Spurs went 1-2 this week with losses to the Rockets and Clippers, but they’re 5-5 over their last 10 games, at least suggesting some improvement from their dismal start to the season. San Antonio will be one of the more interesting trade teams to monitor, with LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan possibly attracting some suitors. That being said, the Spurs are only two games out of the eight seed in the West, and are one hot streak away from getting back to .500.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com - 16 (Last Week: 18)
With the Rockets and Nets combining to shoot 18-for-79 (23%) from 3-point range on Monday and Thursday, the Spurs held two straight opponents under a point per possession for the first time this season. But over their three games last week, they were outscored, 182-100, in the paint, allowing the Clippers to register a season-high 74 points in the paint on Saturday. The Spurs have seen the league’s third biggest jump in the percentage of their opponents’ shots that have come from the restricted area, from 29.0% (third lowest in the league) last season to 32.4% (15th lowest) this season. Dejounte Murray and Derrick White played a little less than five minutes together in the fourth quarter in Houston on Monday (after Murray got into it with James Harden), but didn’t play together in the two games since and have totaled just 15 minutes together all season. The Spurs have been outscored by 14 points per 100 possessions in 615 total minutes with either on floor with Bryn Forbes, but Gregg Popovich might not care.
Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report - 23 (Last Week: 22)
The Spurs blew a 25-point lead to lose 109-107 in Houston on Monday. The manner of defeat stung, but San Antonio had to have been a little relieved it ended in regulation. Four straight overtime games was enough.
With alternating wins and losses in their last six contests, the Spurs sit at 11-17. They’d be far worse off if not for Patty Mills, who posted 27 points in Thursday’s 118-105 win over the Brooklyn Nets.
Mills’ true shooting percentage has never been higher than it is now in his age-31 season. And his steadiness off the bench (not to mention his penchant for late-game heroism) has kept the Spurs from running completely off the rails.
”He’s everything,” Dejounte Murray told reporters after the Brooklyn win. “I’ve never seen him with an attitude in the four years I’ve been here. Not an attitude, no head down. He’s a real pro.”
The Spurs are only two games back of the eighth spot in the West, and they never make in-season trades. But if they fall out of it, you could make the case that San Antonio should dump everyone on the roster who’s over 30. Everyone except Mills.
Is it possible that the sportwriters are actually more positive about the Spurs than Spurs fans right now? How are you feeling about this last week and the season in general so far? Let us know in the comments.